“Criticality” does not necessarily refer to scarcity. Raw materials can be classified as “critical” by the EU based on three criteria:
- They have significant economic importance for EU’s key sectors and for a wide range of commercial and governmental applications: green technology, telecommunications, aerial imaging, aviation, medical devices, micro-electronics, transportation, defence, space exploration, and other high-technology products and services.
- They have a high-supply risk due to the very-high import dependence and high level of concentration in particular countries.
- There is a lack of (viable) substitutes, due to the unique and reliable properties of these materials.
As a result, EU industry, the environment, and our modern way of life is ‘critically’ reliant on access to these raw materials.